Up 12,598 this week

Sawdust and Tinsel (1953)
"Gycklarnas afton" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  9 April 1956 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.7/10 from 3,425 users  
Reviews: 21 user | 39 critic

While traveling in caravan through the country of Sweden, one member of the decadent Alberti Circus tells the owner and ringmaster Albert Johansson a sad story about the clown Frost: seven ... See full summary »


0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 30 titles
created 02 Jun 2012
a list of 37 titles
created 30 Nov 2012
a list of 38 titles
created 24 Dec 2012
a list of 42 titles
created 04 Feb 2013
a list of 49 titles
created 27 Oct 2013

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Sawdust and Tinsel (1953)

Sawdust and Tinsel (1953) on IMDb 7.7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Sawdust and Tinsel.
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Shame (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Ingmar Bergman's psychological study of how humans react in a situation of war. The film takes place on Gotland, where invasion forces arrive.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Liv Ullmann, Max von Sydow, Sigge Fürst
The Silence (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

"The Silence" is about the emotional distance between two sisters. The younger one is still attractive enough to pick up a lover in a strange city. The older one -- even though she is very ... See full summary »

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Ingrid Thulin, Gunnel Lindblom, Birger Malmsten
Face to Face (1976)
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A sensitive exploration of the tragic irony of the psychiatrist suffering with mental illness. Dr. Jenny Isaksson is a psychiatrist married to another psychiatrist; both are successful in ... See full summary »

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Liv Ullmann, Erland Josephson, Aino Taube
The Rite (TV Movie 1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A judge in an unnamed country interviews three actors, together and singly, provoking them while investigating a pornographic performance for which they may face a fine. Their relationships... See full summary »

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Ingrid Thulin, Anders Ek, Gunnar Björnstrand
Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

While vacationing on a remote Scandanavian island with his younger pregnant wife, an artist has a emotional breakdown while confronting his repressed desires.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann, Gertrud Fridh
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A young woman, Karin, has recently returned to the family island after spending some time in a mental hospital. On the island with her is her lonely brother and kind, but increasingly ... See full summary »

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Harriet Andersson, Gunnar Björnstrand, Max von Sydow
Winter Light (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A small town priest struggles with his faith.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Ingrid Thulin, Gunnar Björnstrand, Gunnel Lindblom
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A kind but pampered beautiful young virgin and her family's pregnant and jealous servant set out to deliver candles to church, but only one returns from events that transpire in the woods along the way.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Max von Sydow, Birgitta Valberg, Gunnel Lindblom
After the Rehearsal (TV Movie 1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Rational, exacting, and self-controlled theater director, Henrik Vogler, often stays after rehearsal to think and plan. On this day, Anna comes back, ostensibly looking for a bracelet. She ... See full summary »

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Erland Josephson, Ingrid Thulin, Lena Olin
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Made during Bergman's tax-related exile in Germany, the film continues the story of Katarina and Peter EGermann, the feuding, childless, professional couple who appear in one episode of "... See full summary »

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Robert Atzorn, Christine Buchegger, Martin Benrath
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

When a woman dying of cancer in early twentieth-century Sweden is visited by her two sisters, long-repressed feelings between the siblings rise to the surface.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Harriet Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Kari Sylwan
The Venetian (TV Movie 1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Maud Hansson, Sture Lagerwall, Gunnel Lindblom


Complete credited cast:
Åke Grönberg ...
Albert Johansson
Hasse Ekman ...
Anders Ek ...
Gudrun Brost ...
Annika Tretow ...
Erik Strandmark ...
Mr. Sjuberg
Curt Löwgren ...
Kiki ...
The Dwarf


While traveling in caravan through the country of Sweden, one member of the decadent Alberti Circus tells the owner and ringmaster Albert Johansson a sad story about the clown Frost: seven years ago, his wife Alma was surprised by him bathing naked in a lake with a regiment. When the circus arrives in the town where Albert's wife Agda and sons live, he decides to pay a visit with his young mistress Anne to a famous local troupe to borrow some capes, hats and vests for their tonight show. They are humiliated by the director Mr. Sjuberg, but he lends the pieces, and the lead actor Frans gives an unsuccessful pass on Anne. When Albert decides to visit Agda, the jealous Anne meets Frans, who seduces her with an apparently valuable necklace, and they have a love affair. Anne finds that the necklace is actually worthless and returns to the circus. Meanwhile, Agda refuses to accept Albert back and he sees Anne leaving the theater and going to the jewelry. During the exhibition, Albert and ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


DESPERATELY they fought the desires, the passions that dragged them down deeper and deeper into... "The Naked Night" See more »




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

9 April 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sawdust and Tinsel  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Originally marketed in the States as a sex film under the title "The Naked Night". See more »


Anne: I can crack nuts with my teeth too.
Frans: Now I'm scared.
See more »


Featured in Ljuset håller mig sällskap (2000) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

has gained a reputation as a triumph of Bergaman's pre 'Seventh Seal' period; rightfully so
17 December 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Sawdust and Tinsel- or The Swedish Master, or The Naked Night, take your pick on a title- is about a man who can't stand himself in his profession, but loves it so much at the same time: the low-brow sensibility of it, the wildness, the freedom to cut it loose with drink or with mad gimmicks during a show, and abandon of the rules when confronted with the law. But he also has a love whom he has his problems with, and her with him as well, leading to an infidelity drama that plays out harshly. Ingmar Bergman said this was a personal film for him, in a big sense, because of the connection to the excitement of the profession being played out against personal turmoil and trouble in professional terms (Bergman even said it was easier for a scrawny director to have a "fat actor" play the part of Arthur). It was reviled by critics and a box-office flop- one of the more expensive films, relatively to others, Bergman made up to that point.

It's a film that, seen years later now through the prism of Bergman as one of the world's true artists in the profession, also is deceptively high-brow about the world of low-brow, where experimentation filters in early on and Bergman makes one of his more distinctive marks as a director more-so than a screenwriter (usually, however much Bergman is always an absorbing and challenging director of scenes, writes like no other). The opening scenes, with the story of the sad/pathetic clown Frost (could be a distraction if overdone, but it's an interesting side-not throughout the film as a reminder of true melancholy), are shot like some crazy silent movie, where all we hear are sounds of laughter and little sound effects, brightly lit, shot and composed like some manic tale of desperation and defeat and humiliation, stylized so highly one might think a mad German too control of the reins and made it his own. It's not something all of Bergman's fans will like, but it shows him, even in 1953, trying new things, letting himself be free with the material as he sees fit.

Then, after this, we get into the "typical" Bergmania; a sort of square-block played out between Arthur, who is meeting his ex-wife in the town he's at for the circus performance (the actress playing his wife, I forget her name, is brilliant at displaying just enough pragmatism to show her as the most sane of anyone in the film), and Arthur's current beau Anne is somewhat attracted to a sneaky actor named Frans, who plays a wicked game of arm wrestling and leading to a somewhat Albert and Anne, and how this casts a dark shadow on the rest of the proceedings- including through the circus performance, which becomes a daring act of do by Bergman where he makes things effective once squaring in on the 'duel' between Arthur and Frans. For those that love Bergman doing relationship drama, this is solid, if not exceptional, stuff on display. And the ending, truth be told, might just be one of the most engrossing, and completely bleak (if you could imagine that Bergmanites) that he ever made (who doesn't cry with the scene with the bear?)

It might sound like Bergman has made a depressing little tome on circus life, the sorrows of living with the filth and lice and reckless frivolity of life as vagabond entertainers. But it's also a lot of fun, as the low-brow material displays another side to Bergman, which is something close to weird, comic excess. Sometimes Bergman even mocks his own world; a scene with Albert asking Gunnar Bjornstrand's theater director (the latter always shown in low-angle, a smart choice) makes the theater come off satirically compared to Bergman's more serious treatments of the profession in his films. And, seriously, where else will we get a dwarf tossing in a work by this filmmaker? And meanwhile, he also has a great turn from his would-be Emil Jannings in Åke Grönberg, who is big and over-emotional and strung-out on his excesses of anger and resentment, mostly with himself (watch for that gun!) And Andersson, of course, is ravishing as she was- if not erotically as such- in Monika, filmed the same year.

Now finally available just a bit easier than previously thanks to Criterion, Sawdust and Tinsel is a fine spectacle of a director branching out stylistically (if not to the spectacular Felliniesque aspirations it might have as a pre La Strada or The Clowns), while keeping his feet tethered to his personal cinema. Not quite in my top 10 of Bergman's, but considering how many great films he made it's close.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
DVD??? neil-313
Breaking Down Bergman series on Sawdust and Tinsel eo_guy
Need to change English translation of title alistaire_2
Discuss Sawdust and Tinsel (1953) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: